How To Do #SXSW Like a Local #Austin #sxswi

I was born in Austin.

When SXSW started I simply found it aggravating to have so many tourists in town… blocking up I-35. And living in the “Live Music Capital of the World“- we had/have access to talented musicians all the time. So why fight the crowd?

After returning to Austin recently, I decided to see what all the hub-bub of SXSW was all about. My friend suggested that I volunteer to earn access to the $1200 Interactive badge I desired. Here’s my post about volunteering at SXSW.

If I am in Austin next year, I will do some things differently. And there were some genius ideas that I will keep (bring snacks). If you are a native Austinite or will be living like one during SXSW, here are a few tips for how to get the most bang for your buck.

  1. Bring snacks – don’t be lazy. You won’t want to pack them in the morning but then you will be hungry later and wish you had. I found it difficult to find quick and healthy snacks. Here are some of my favorite travel snacks.
  2. Park east of I-35 for free, but be wary of random parking rules. I got a ticket for parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk. 20 feet? Who knew that was a rule? Thanks, Austin. #notcool
  3. Don’t buy a SXSW badge. Unless someone buys it for you, of course. I just don’t think you will get your money’s worth. The lines were so long it was amusement-park-esque. The lines were so long, we never got in to many SXSW Interactive parties and sessions. Not cool when the ticket price is so high.
  4. Consider volunteering. If you volunteer for a minimum of 60 hours you can get a badge to one of the three elements comprising #SXSW. I volunteered this year. Once was enough.
  5. Make #SXSW friends online and in real life. Before, after and during are all good times to connect with the interesting cast SXSW attracts.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. I enjoyed the experience and met some truly interesting and extra-ordinary people. I rarely regret new adventures and now I can scratch this off “the list”. I’ll probably make an appearance again next year… after re-reading this post.

Did I miss anything? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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